Emergency Department/Urgent Care as Usual Source of Care and Clinical Outcomes in CKD: Findings From the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort Study

Kidney Med. 2022 Feb 1;4(4):100424. doi: 10.1016/j.xkme.2022.100424. eCollection 2022 Apr.


Rationale & objective: Having a usual source of care increases use of preventive services and is associated with improved survival in the general population. We evaluated this association in adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Study design: Prospective, observational cohort study.

Setting & participants: Adults with CKD enrolled in the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) Study.

Predictor: Usual source of care was self-reported as: 1) clinic, 2) emergency department (ED)/urgent care, 3) other.

Outcomes: Primary outcomes included incident end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), atherosclerotic events (myocardial infarction, stroke, or peripheral artery disease), incident heart failure, hospitalization events, and all-cause death.

Analytical approach: Multivariable regression analyses to evaluate the association between usual source of care (ED/urgent care vs clinic) and primary outcomes.

Results: Among 3,140 participants, mean age was 65 years, 44% female, 45% non-Hispanic White, 43% non-Hispanic Black, and 9% Hispanic, mean estimated glomerular filtration rate 50 mL/min/1.73 m2. Approximately 90% identified clinic as usual source of care, 9% ED/urgent care, and 1% other. ED/urgent care reflected a more vulnerable population given lower baseline socioeconomic status, higher comorbid condition burden, and poorer blood pressure and glycemic control. Over a median follow-up time of 3.6 years, there were 181 incident end-stage kidney disease events, 264 atherosclerotic events, 263 incident heart failure events, 288 deaths, and 7,957 hospitalizations. Compared to clinic as usual source of care, ED/urgent care was associated with higher risk for all-cause death (HR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.05-2.23) and hospitalizations (RR, 1.41; 95% CI, 1.32-1.51).

Limitations: Cannot be generalized to all patients with CKD. Causal relationships cannot be established.

Conclusions: In this large, diverse cohort of adults with moderate-to-severe CKD, those identifying ED/urgent care as usual source of care were at increased risk for death and hospitalizations. These findings highlight the need to develop strategies to improve health care access for this high-risk population.

Keywords: Access to health care; chronic kidney disease; emergency department; health care access; usual source of care.